It was legendary fashion icon Coco Chanel who said: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off .”
While her tip was in reference to the amount of jewellery and accessories one has on the body, the same rule can be applied to home styling.
When it comes to interior decorating, there’s a fine line between elegance and extravagance, and it’s one that many fail to tread successfully.
All too often, we see instances of a beautifully designed home being laid to waste, simply because of its horrible interior styling. Most of the time, it’s the result of an overzealous homeowner or stylist, who went overboard with playing up several big ideas and themes at the same time.
Imagine walking into a room filled with classical wainscotting, but oddly complemented by bar stools and a chinoiserie-styled console filled with way too many picture frames. Such are things nightmares are made of and, unfortunately, bad dreams turn into stark reality in the hands of a stylist who thinks more can always be, well, more.
The issue of over-styling a space is prevalent even at a time when many homeowners are embracing the idea of minimalist living. Strangely enough, even self-professed minimalists can still harbour maximalist inclinations when it comes to dressing up interiors. A lone bonsai by the door looks meditative, but the sight becomes an eyesore when you bump into several lone bonsai plants in various parts of the house. The same can be said of the placement of tea light candles. While having two or three on a table can help add ambient light to a cosy dinner gathering, anything more and your dinner guests might wonder if the meal is going to be accompanied by dessert and a seance session.
So, is there a fail-proof way a homeowner can style a space without going overboard? Yes. In fact, we can offer three options. However, one must keep in mind to remain steadfast and stick to only one of the options below at any given time.
Option A is called the rule of odds. Cluster accessories at varying heights in odd numbers not exceeding seven. For larger objects, like potted plants, cap the items at three.
Option B is to go monochrome. A room filled with many objects in the same colour looks just as mesmerising as a snowy landscape with everything capped with a layer of white.
Option C, as Coco mentioned, is to go back into the room after you are done styling it, and remove one to three items from the look. Be warned, though, because it can take several attempts before you can perfect the art of restraint. Once achieved, you can rest assured that anyone entering your domain will see your home as the reflection of the tasteful and sophisticated individual you really are.